The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Largest organization almost unknown

Student Government, Inc. is the parent organization of the approximately 137 student groups on campus, yet a majority of the students here do not know what SGI is.

Approximately 53 percent of students on the Queens campus did not know that SGI was the school’s student council group, according to a survey of 588 students conducted by The Torch.

Although the organization is responsible for allocating $1.3 million of student activity funds, money that is paid by every student as part of their tuition, still students do not know what the organization does. A number of those surveyed commented, “What is SGI?”

“It’s really sad that students don’t know of SGI,” said treasurer Wesley Faucher. “Part of tuition is an activity fee that goes to SGI. You should know where your money’s going.”

Members of the executive board were not surprised when told about the lack of knowledge of their organization. However, they attributed the students’ lack of knowledge to SGI’s own lack of publicity.

“We aren’t very well publicized,” said SGI Secretary Diana Lounsbury. “If you are in the U.C., I suppose you’ll know what Student Government is, but if you’re a commuter you might not know.”

Faucher agreed, placing the blame on the members as opposed to the common students.

“This just tells me that we as an e-board need to put more work into promoting SGI,” Faucher said. “We failed as an e-board if [the students] don’t know what SGI is.”

Along with not knowing what SGI does, very few students were able to name the group’s president. Only 23 percent of students knew that Rich Masana was the president of Student Government.

“Ask who the editor of The Torch is, or any other organization’s [leader] and it’ll be the same,” Masana said.

“From president down to representatives, nobody knows who we are,” Lounsbury said.

She once again brought up the lack of self-promotion done by members of the organization.

“[We need to] utilize our public relations committee,” she said. “That’s what they’re there for.”

This lack of publicity may also be to blame for low voter turnout during SGI elections each year. Only 14 percent of students have ever voted in an SGI election, according to the survey.

While the number appears low, it correlates with the 54 percent of students who were unable to answer a question about the importance of SGI.

“Unless I went up to you and told you ‘vote,’ would you have gone?” Lounsbury said. “If you don’t have to leave your apartment or dorm room, you’re not going to do it.”

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